The scene rocked in 2012 with international and local acts singeing the stage. And it is only getting better in 2013 with Swedish House Mafia kicking off the concert calendar, writes Catherine Rhea Roy
Bangalore is a difficult city to surprise as far as music is concerned. Sure we start early, rock around a curfew and wrap up before the rest of the country – but we rock harder, indie harder and EDM harder than them all. Bring the commercial popularity of David Guetta, the classic genius of Santana, the soothing calm of Lahori Blues by Zeb & Haniya, the cool new school of independent music, or even a geriatric GnR missing Slash, the city welcomes them all with open arms with nothing but great expectations and zero tolerance for a no-show.
Last year was an exciting one for music, with international acts lined up one after the other.
The prospects of 2013 do not disappoint. For starters the highly-anticipated Swedish House Mafia – One Last Tour, which was called off last year in Mumbai will be back and will include a show in Bangalore as well. And in other news Snoop Dogg, who was rechristened by a Rastafarian priest and now goes by the name of Snoop Lion will play in Pune and Gurgaon and not in Bangalore. Sigh.
While it is still too early to give an accurate menu of what is happening and when, there are definite things to look forward to like the Invasion Festival that had brought Prodigy in 2011 and David Guetta in 2012.
We can safely anticipate another explosive act (Chemical Brothers if the author is lucky) in February this year. There is also the Kingfisher Great Indian Oktoberfest, may be another offering from Submerge as a follow up to Trance Around The World 450/ Group Therapy 001 and the second edition of the hugely-popular NH7 Weekender.
In the meantime we have our own Samaritans of music who make sure we have something to look forward to week in and week out. While international acts come, make waves and go, Bangalore has a healthy live music culture encouraged by spaces such as CounterCulture, Alliance Francaise and BFlat. Vishwaraj Mohan of CounterCulture says, “At CounterCulture, we’re starting 2013 with a whole new outlook. We're going to refocus all our energies on live performances; we're now officially shut through the week and only open over the weekend from Friday to Sunday. We'll continue to programme live music acts on Fridays and Saturdays.”
The Alliance Francaise also has a very hectic calendar with their project titled Bon Jour India that spans from January until March and as every year, the Fete de la Musique in June. Indigo & Blues, the international jazz and blues festival which brought the Van Wilks Band and Bobby Whitlock in 2012 to the city will be back again this year with more, “We begin the year with Indus Creed in concert in January and then we also have Indigo & Blues, an international jazz and blues festival to look forward to,” says Trigam Mukherjee from Indigo Live promising at least four to five international acts over the year.
There is no question of quashing the spirit for music in the city. When Palace Grounds was declared out of bounds for live shows, we overcame that hurdle and found at least five alternatives. So what if it’s not in the heart of the city, we are willing to go the distance for the music. And with a steadily growing community of local bands, a continuing trend of international musicians who show an unabated interest in coming to play for us, fuelled by rabid fan-bases, and an explosion of spaces to accommodate them all, 2013 shows promise for some solid entertainment and a jam-packed music calendar for Bangalore.